250 000 jobs at risk in liquor industry

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As many as 250 000 jobs are on the line as the ban on the sale of alcohol persists. This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a ban on liquor sales throughout the festive season until 15 January 2021.

According to Liquor Traders Formation convener, Lucky Ntimane, about 165 000 jobs in the industry have been lost since March 2020 as a result of the two previous bans under lockdown.

“Liquor traders continue to suffer the brunt of the lockdowns first implemented by the president on 26 March 2020. Out of the 284 days that the country has been on some measure of lockdown, liquor traders have not been able to trade in liquor for +100 days with no government support whatsoever to cushion against this blow. Closure is the immediate reality faced by the majority of 34,500 taverns and this includes shebeen permit holders,” he said.

Ntimane also explained that liquor traders have continued to support government’s efforts in stemming the tide against the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. “We welcome the collaborative efforts of our communities, society and law enforcement officials over the festive period, which ensured general high levels of compliance with Covid-19 regulations as evidenced by few incidents reported and low trauma admissions in hospital linked to alcohol abuse,” he said.

The Liquor Traders Formation urges the government to allow off-premise sales with limited days and hours with effect from 16 January 2021.

“This will further support government efforts in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic as it will encourage at home consumption of liquor whilst ensuring that liquor traders’ livelihoods are maintained,” added Ntimane.

They also encourage the state to consider a moratorium on licence renewals and linked fee increases for a period not less than one year as well as a financial package for liquor traders to cover their non-trading loses to the value not less than R20 000.

Nomaqhawe Mtebele

nomaqhawe@mahareng.co.za